Nature of Public Relations

Nature of Public Relations

Read to understand the principles of PR

The nature of PR varies from organisation to organisation according to its needs. There is no ready-made formula for the form or nature of PR. Nature depends on an organisation's resources and aptitude. So, a PR person has to cut their duties accordingly.

Role of an organisation in shaping PR exercise :

1. An organisation must understand the importance of public relations and communication. It must listen to its target groups. A public institution has a particular commitment to protecting the public interest.

2. Public relations should be seen as a management function in any organisation.

3. An effective communication or public relations plan for any organisation is meant to communicate, both to the internal and external public.

What is the essential nature of communication?

PR is basically for the image building of an institution. It is to create harmonious relations between an organisation and its public. To achieve this, a PR person must analyse different facets of PR actions.

A PR person has to make a checklist to decide on the PR activities.

  1. What is the extent of PR function?

How is the organisation going to use public relations? Whether PR function is recognised as a central objective for achieving good management? Is this going to act as a unifying force within the organisation?  

  1. What is the level of PR function?

Is the management at the highest level taking the PR activities into account? Every organisation must understand the socio-political environment in which it is operating. PR must be used to avoid confrontation and crisis. ( POSCO case in Odisha)

  1. PR person must know the target public:

As a link between the management and the various public, PR should know the target public and earn their confidence.

  1. PR must focus on maintaining organisational goodwill: It is an essential asset. Nowadays, business and industry function under public scrutiny. ( RTI, PIL, etc. have come into existence as practical tools to check organisational activities) Every organisation should strive to keep its reputation intact.
  2. PR person must evaluate their work: A PR person has to evaluate his work environment and appraise his competence, subject himself to criticism and be open to expert advice. He has to strike a balance between the demands of the target public and organisational responsibility
  3. A PR person must have clear objectives: A PR person must know what changes he wants to bring about. Some such objectives may be upholding the market standing of the organisation, fostering innovation, and improving work performance and attitude and accountabilities to the public.
  4. The communication skills of a PR person affect an Organisation and the Public: PR manages both organisational behaviour and also public behaviour. So, his communication skills are crucial for business policy framing, decision making, and favourable public response. How to reach the public, what PR tools to use, and which media to choose are significant decisions.


The scope of PR stands on four pillars- Information, Interactivity, Adjustment and Integration.

So the scope of Public relations involves:

1. Public relation is the window for an organisation to see external changes. PR is also a window through which society can approach an organisation. There should be a free flow of information from the public to management. ( free flow of information )

2. PR should develop rapport and goodwill through a two-way communication process. There is always a conflict of interest between employer-employee, consumer manufacturer, management-shareholders, and citizens government. ( Inter-activity is essential)

3. PR should foster a positive relationship between an organisation and its target public. They should know the psychology of the public mind and acquire skills to solve and avoid such conflicts through

adjustments and resolving disputes. ( adjustment of conflicting interests )

4. PR should gather public feedback to help formulate and implement the organisation's procedure, policy and program through integration. Public relations activity is becoming more and more important for productivity.

Use of PR:

• Organisations use marketing public relations (MPR) to convey product information.

• Organisations using public relations to reach legislators and other politicians for favourable taxation and regulatory regime. (an example of lobbying)

• Non-profit organisations, including schools and universities, hospitals, and social service agencies, using public relations for awareness programs, fund-raising programs, etc.

• Politicians use public relations to attract votes and raise money.

• Today, the scope of public relations is everywhere; profit or non-profit professional organisations, government departments, hospitals, and universities are joining the PR exercise.

The dimensions of PR are again based on the "3 I's":

Interest, Initiative, and Image:

The question poses whether public relations should focus on public interest or organisational interest. A balance has to be struck between the two. But, if you satisfy public interest, the organisation will ultimately benefit. So public interest assumes the greater good.

The second dimension is initiative. Whether the public relations function should be reactive or pro-active? Pro-activeness help to anticipate and shape emerging organisational issues and avoid crises. So, the industry is always required.

The third dimension is an image. The question comes of perception vs reality or vision vs substance. Image building is an essential exercise of PR. You have to see truth and sense to create perception and image. So, image-building is an important exercise.

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